Canyon Sin Nombre by phone (12 photos)

On the first Sunday in December I finally returned to the desert. I’ve done far less desert hiking in 2016 than in the years before for various reasons, but it was nice to be back. Together with my friend Hans we hiked at Canyon Sin Nombre again – taking a different route this time, described by Carla and Fred Melgert, the incredible wife & husband desert hiking duo.

They have collected an incredible amount of hiking description, GPS logs, photos and videos on their website, borregohiking.com – and they now have apps for the hikes, and a wildflower identification guide as well. I cannot possibly express the respect I have for the work they’re doing in words. It’s fantastic.

Since I’ve hiked Canyon Sin Nombre plenty of times already (hey, it even has its own blog post tag!), and since it was going to be a bright and cloudless sunny day, I’ve left the “big, real camera” at home. I was putting my iPhone 7 Plus to the test – with its dual lens setup and the ability to capture raw data via Lightroom, I was curious how it would fare.

And I’m still very impressed. The amount of detail that is available in the raw data is astonishing, and it really leaves me puzzled why Apple kills most of it with their noise reduction – only to then over-sharpen the result. It looks okay on the small phone screen, but as soon as you look at the Apple-generated JPEGs on a larger screen, they’re really not that great. This is hard to judge from the web-sized files of course but I want to believe that even at this size, I can discern the crude JPEGs from photos that have been processed from the raw data that the very same sensor produces. Or maybe I’m just a fanboy right now. :-}

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